The Effect of Triage on Patient Flow in an Outpatient Clinic.
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
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An extensive literature search revealed that the use of various types of appointment systems, the use of allied health personnel, and the use of triage, or the priority sorting of patients, are all major methods currently being used to improve patient flow in health care systems. In an effort to determine the effectiveness of the use of triage in improving patient flow in an outpatient clinic, the operation of the general practice clinic at the Williams AFB Hospital was studied. Results of the study showed that although triage patients had lower provider service times 8.55 min. vs. 12.45 min., their total service times were significantly longer 68.3 min. vs. 37.5 min.. In addition, these long waiting times were shown to significantly affect patient satisfaction with the service at the clinic as a whole. Furthermore, it was discovered that the use of triage in this manner actually decreased the total number of patients seen in the clinic. However, it was proposed that by using medical technicians rather than physician assistants for screening, and by using modified wave scheduling for the triage patients, total service times could be reduced and the total number of patients seen could be increased without sacrificing the principle of triage.
- Medicine and Medical Research